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Showing posts from April, 2012

My longest bus journey..

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Yahoo! I just won an Olympic Gold!!!

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Oh! Is Olympics pre-poned? What event did I win in?

My Gold medal comes from an event that sees participation from a lot of people across India (or may be across the world). One can participate in this event from home, over a computer.

Now, what event is it? Chess?

No! Its called "booking a ticket". The venue for this game is the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) website, and the game happens daily between 0800hrs and 0900hrs. To participate, one requires an internet connection, lots of patience and perhaps enough money to book 5 tickets (instead of one).

Participating in the game requires a bit of practice and some preparation. First priority would be to get familar with the layout of the website, and steps involved in booking the ticket - you do not get time to learn them during the play times. If its a holiday, also be prepared to wake up early in the morning.

Coming to my experience.. it was a Sunday - a lazy Sunday. I was in front of the computed …

Kallada to Kodungallur

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The 0340 Kodungallur Super Fast

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February 14/15, 2012

This year’s Valentine’s Day was befittingly spent on trains and buses. After a mind-blowing trip to Kanyakumari by train, I settled for the night at the tiny “AC Hut” at Trivandrum Central Railway Station. With that 2 hour long train journey, I finished travelling on all railway lines in Kerala. I settled at the Station’s retiring room facility with an aim of getting into an early morning bus from Trivandrum. I hit the bed after setting an alarm for an unearthly 0230hrs. I hadn’t slept much the previous night and hence I fell asleep the moment I hit the bed. I vaguely remember snoozing the Alarm – it was 0300hrs when I woke up. I literally jumped out of the bed, got ready quickly and checked out of the room at 0315hrs. 
By now I mentally calculated my alternatives, and ran towards the bus station. My bus, however, was still standing there. Meet RNE424 – a Super Fast bus from my ‘home’ depot, Kodungallur. This bus was built by Regional Workshop, Edappal (in the Malap…

The Day Airavat from Hyderabad to Bangalore

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I had realised at the time of booking my tickets to Hyderabad that getting the ticket back would be an issue - it indeed was. Most of the buses did not have tickets, and those that had seats, were selling above Rs. 1900/2000 - which I felt was too high for an 8 hour journey. I remembered that KSRTC runs a day bus between Hyderabad and Bangalore - checked their website and saw that they had two buses - an Airavat and an AC Rajahamsa. Airavat was the call. The bus was more or less full by the time I got into the ticketing page (the website was down for most of the time due to the festive rush). I picked seat #37 - a left side window seat on the last-but-one row.

March 26, 2012; 5:30hrs: I checked out of my hotel room and headed straight to Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) - the main bus station in Hyderabad. My bus would depart only at 0635hrs - that gave me a lot of time to roam around the bus station. The bus station was too crowded for the time - may be since it was a Monday. I wa…

Hyderabad Calling.. Garuda Plus this time..

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While aimlessly staring at my mailbox on a fine wednesday afternoon, a mail comes in, with an invite to Hyderabad. I was required to be in Hyderabad that Sunday. That day was spend in dilemma whether to go or not - but I made a decision on Thursday to head to Hyderabad. Getting tickets to go there was easy - every bus departing from Bangalore on Saturday night had two-digit vacancies. I wanted to be in Hyderabad before 0630hrs, and hence was looking at buses that leave early - APSRTC had two Garuda Plus buses at 2030hrs (one heading to Nizamabad, and one working Mysore-Hyderabad). I knew that the Nizamabad service gets Mercedes Multi-Axles, while I had no idea of the other one - so decided to book on the Mysore-Hyderabad bus. I did not really want to travel in a Mercedes Multi-Axle, so was hoping to get a Volvo on the other service.

Getting the return ticket was an issue - I had to return on a Sunday, that too Sunday after Ugadi (which meant people got three days of leave together). …

A steam ride...

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Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the sole surviving steam hauled section in India - steam locos do survive at Rewari shed, and are used for heritage runs in the country. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) connects Mettupalam to Udhagamandalam. It is a 45.88kms long line. The first 27.03kms from Mettupalayam to Coonoor sees steam locos daily, while the remaining section (from Coonoor to Udhagamandalam) is worked using diesel locomotives. It is an UNESCO Heritage site, and this prohibits further modernisation of the section (thankfully).

Back in the mid 1990s, I vaguely remembering asking my dad if we could return from Ooty by train - the option was shot down since the train is too slow, and runs on steam (yeah! that was a reason i was told). Some 17 years down the line, I was browsing the Indian Railways website looking for tickets to Ooty. I was looking at the date when the ticket was next available. This was in the first week of November - it turned out that the next available journey wa…